Conflict of laws Service. An English arbitration tribunal had granted an award in favour of the claimant against the first defendant, Unitech Ltd, for in excess of US$350m. The claimant obtained permission to join Unitech's foreign subsidiaries to the proceedings and to serve an amended claim form seeking a worldwide freezing order against them out of the jurisdiction. The subsidiaries applied for an order for service outside the jurisdiction to be set aside. The Commercial Court, in granting the application, held that the English court had no jurisdiction over the subsidiaries. They could not be treated as having agreed to the supervisory jurisdiction of the English court merely by virtue of their status as subsidiaries.
Practice Case management. The parties made an out of time request for a paper case management conference in the Commercial Court. The court ruled that the general rule, that there had to be an oral case management conference at court, should only be departed from in exceptional cases. It was appropriate to impose a sanction as to costs in the present case for the failure to comply with the Admiralty and Commercial Court guide. However, the court refrained from doing so as an act of mercy.
Practice Civil litigation. The main proceedings concerned the sale and disposal of the interests of the claimants and others in shares in one or more corporate entities which owned a football club, to purchasers connected with a well-known businessmen Bernie Ecclestone and another individual. The defendants had been retained and instructed by the claimants and others in relation to the transaction. The claimants sought relief from sanctions under CPR3.9 in respect of its failure to serve notice on the defendants of the existence of funding arrangements. The Chancery Division, in allowing the application, held that, despite the need to encourage compliance, it was not just to withhold relief from sanction in the circumstances of the case.
Building contract Adjudication. In a construction dispute, the adjudicator found for the claimant. The claimant applied for summary judgment to enforce the adjudicator's decision. The Technology and Construction Court held that the defendant had no real prospect of a successful defence, and allowed the application.
Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The claimant applied to have an ex parte order, withdrawing an accepted CPR Pt 3 offer set aside. The Queen's Bench Division held that the only new circumstances which could make it just to permit a party to withdraw its offer before the expiry of the relevant period were circumstances which the offeror was able and willing to make known to the offeree at the time of serving notice of withdrawal.
Human rights Right to respect for private and family life. The claimant was arrested on suspicion of having committed sexual offences against children, but was later released and was never charged as a result of the investigation. Seven other men were convicted as a result of the investigation. The claimant sought an interim non-disclosure order against the defendant newspapers and journalists. The application was refused and the claimant appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in dismissing the appeal, held that the judge had reached a conclusion which he had been entitled to on the facts and it was not a conclusion with which the court would interfere.
Court of Appeal Leave to appeal. Following the claimant's success at first instance, the defendant sought permission to appeal. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, imposed conditions on the defendant's application and ordered it to pay security for costs.
Contract Services. The Technology and Construction Court considered the interpretation of a contract between the parties, under which the claimant companies provided services to the defendant. The issue arose as to whether the claimants would be entitled to further remuneration if they went into liquidation. The court held that the claimants would be entitled to a declaration that the contract referred to any further payment to which it would or might otherwise be entitled pursuant to the contractual provisions relating to payment.
Disclosure and inspection of documents Privilege. In the course of proceedings concerning the estate of Boris Berezovsky (BB), his daughter (EB), who was the administrator of part of the estate, sought to rely on a document relating to a settlement between BB and the third to sixth defendants. The Chancery Division held that, although EB would be allowed to adduce the document, a number of restrictions would be placed on its use.
Practice Summary judgment. The claimant sought summary judgment against the defendants in respect of its claim for breach of their employment contracts and breach of fiduciary obligations. It also sought a declaration that the defences had been struck out as a result of a breach of an unless order made in the case. The Chancery Division, in refusing the applications, held that there were triable issues which should be determined at trial and that it was far from obvious from patent deficiencies in the disclosure list that it had been prepared in apparent but not real compliance with the obligation to give discovery.